Updated: Jan 22, 2021
The Eve of the Conversion of St. Paul
January 24, 2021
Celebrant: I will make you as a light for the nations,
People: That my salvation may reach to the end of the earth..
O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, we may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lod, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
A Reading from Acts 26: 9 – 21
9 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 And I did so in Jerusalem; I not only shut up many of the saints in prison, by authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
12 “Thus I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me.
14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
16 But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
17 delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles—to whom I send you
18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
’19 “Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20 but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance.
21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
Here ends the reading.
Response: Thanks be to God
1 May God be merciful unto us, and bless us,
* and show us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us.
2 Let your way be known upon earth,
* your saving health among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
* indeed, let all the peoples praise you.
4 O let the nations rejoice and be glad,
* for you shall judge the peoples righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
* let all the peoples praise you.
6 Then shall the earth bring forth her increase,
* and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
7 God shall bless us,
* and all the ends of the world shall fear him.
A Reading from: Galatians 1: 11 - 24
11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s[a] gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; 14 and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to[b] me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cili′cia. 22 And I was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea; 23 they only heard it said, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
Here ends the reading.
Response: Thanks be to God
The Holy GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 10: 16 - 25
Response: Glory to you, Lord Christ.
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant[a] above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant[b] like his master. If they have called the master of the house Be-el′zebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Response: Praise to you, Lord Christ.
Celebrant: Let us confess our faith in the words of the Apostle’s Creed
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Celebrant: PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
In your own words, pray for your own needs, for those on your heart, for the peace of
the world, and for the Church.
Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to your never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that you are doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Celebrant: ACT OF CONTRITION
Let us humbly confess our sins to Almighty God:
O GOD, We are VERY SORRY that we have sinned against you and for all the wrongs we have done and the good we have not done.
Take a moment in silence to share your confession to God with these words in your heart:
Especially I confess_______________________________.
Everyone: Forgive us for Jesus' sake, and grant us strength and wisdom to amend our lives. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen
Dear Jesus, we believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament. We love you above all things, and we desire to possess you within our souls. And since we cannot now receive you sacramentally, we beseech you to come spiritually into our hearts. We unite ourselves to you, together with all your faithful people gathered around every altar of your Church, and we embrace you with all the affections of our souls. Never permit us to be separated from you. Amen.
COME LORD JESUS, and dwell in our hearts in the fullness of your strength; be our wisdom and guide us in right pathways; conform our lives and actions to the image of your holiness; and, in the power of your gracious might, rule over every hostile power that threatens or disturbs the growth of your kingdom, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
AND MAY THE PEACE OF GOD, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you now and always, Amen.
SOUL of Christ, sanctify me Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me Water from the side of Christ, wash me Passion of Christ, strengthen me O good Jesus, hear me Within Thy wounds, hide me Separated from Thee let me never be From the malignant enemy, defend me At the hour of death, call me To come to Thee, bid me That I may praise Thee in the company Of Thy Saints for all eternity. Amen.
1. It is evident in our Acts reading (and in his own letters) that Paul does not share his conversion story in order to impress others with his spiritual experience. In this light, what do you find valuable in sharing the story of your own Christian life (whether or not it includes a special experience like his)?
2. In our Galatians reading, Paul describes his withdrawal for 3 years after his conversion. Given what he wrote earlier in our lesson about his advance position in Judaism prior to conversion, why do you think he withdrew? Do you ever "withdraw" following a religious experience? If so, how would you describe the value or purpose of doing so?
3. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity opens with the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter on January 18 and concludes with the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on the 25th. How do you see the importance of a confession of and conversion to Christ tor you and all Christians today?